Sunday, March 30, 2008

I've got a smile on my face, and I've got four walls around me

It was a slow, slow, s-l-o-w start to Sunday. Ten hours sleep and it still wasn't enough, and by the time Janet came around to get my knitting needles, I was close to passing out (sorry for the lack of hospitality, Janet). Some more medicinal hot white tea and soup from Mr QM, bless him, and I was feeling a little more human by mid afternoon.

That's when I started creating. First up it was just the sleeves for about four miniature quilts that had never had the chance to hang, even thought I made them all years ago.

Gin, Tonic and Lime Peel

Little Shoes

(You don't get much quilting content on this blog nowadays, so please indulge me.)

So quilts all hung, I decided to ditch the idea for immediate Etsy shop stockage (too hard, and too boring, and waaaaaay too tiny), and instead decided to make a crochet project bag. My cardi is getting bigger and needs a bigger bag. Also, have you seen the size of those 200g balls of Bendi 12 ply?

Project bag

I used a cute Japanese cotton fabric I'd bought in Cobargo last year. I even overlocked all the seams, squared the bottom of the bag off, and put in real buttonholes for the ties. It had been so long since I'd made buttonholes, I had to refer to the Bernina manual. See? Perfect buttonholes!

Buttonhole detail

All this took me a total of 30 minutes. I was so impressed with myself, more for the fact that I did something, rather than made something special. It felt good.

These fabric are next - bound for greatness in the form of useful things.

These fabrics are next in line

This is ... the contents of my handbag

I loved this meme - but I'm loving seeing everyone else's bags even more! I'm such a voyeur, obviously.

This is my Nicole Cerini satchel, very old. I tend to use this on weekends and holidays. It holds just about everything. I think I might need a new one soon.

Here we have:

* Homemade bag for my latest crochet project
* Green pouch for toiletries and pills
Catherine Manuell purse
* Book
* Green iPod with homemade sashiko pouch
* Green leather diary
* Natio lipstick and QV lip balm
* Ladies' hankies (of course. I love ladies' hankies)
* Building pass and keys
* Sunglasses in Persuede case, specs in orange chinese brocade case, and Strepsils *cough cough*

The contents of my bag seem to confirm a love of orange, green and red. Who woulda thought?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

When daylight fades and night invades

Last night in between chills and fevers I finally found my sewing machine again. I knew it was there somewhere.

So that's what my sewing machine looked like

My first job is to sew sleeves on these quilts so I can finally hang them (ironically, I can do this without a sewing machine). My second job is to re-stock my Etsy shop so that I can have some spending money for my holiday in Melbourne next month.

The candles are primed for Earth Hour tonight, although we are feeling quite cynical about the whole thing. What happens after the hour is up and the lights get flicked back on? Will people forget a very important lesson? I hope not.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't be hanging round here when the water overflows

Yeah yeah, struggle struggle, no crafting mojo, messy studio, blah blah blah.

And then I got another cold.

1. This is post #145. I think I might have a giveaway at post #150. Keep your eyes peeled.

2. For Canberra knitters only - I have three pair of needles (I'm sure I had more but I don't know where they are) from when I thought I might like to be a knitter. In a time before I wised up to the fact I just don't like knitting. Anyway, whoever wants 7 mm, 10 mm and 20 mm (yes, really) needles - comment first and they are yours. Please, Canberra only. I don't want to mail these.

3. I am seeing
Fred Smith in May at Tilley's. As much as I deplore Tilley's (for many, many reasons - let's not get me started) all my favourite shows have been held there and the coffee isn't too bad if you get a barrista having a good night. Cannot wait. Honestly. It's been ages since I saw Fred.

4. Preppy Tank was last seen wallowing on the studio floor, on top of my quilting bag. It still hasn't been put together. Poor bloody tank.

Preppy tank still in pieces

5. I was going to make Mei Mei using the grey Country on the bed o' stash, but I've changed my mind - I'm going to make Galena by Doris Chan instead. I think it will be more useful.

Galena by Doris Chan

6. Some lovely friends have surprised us by announcing that they are getting married overseas in June with a Canberra soiree in late May. I want to make Shakira from
burdastyle to wear to the shindig. And hooray! Finally burdastyle have their first ever plus-size pattern. But to all those skinny people on the forum and the comments who are whinging about it not being in a size 34? Seriously, you can just fark off. Is it not enough that the rest of the website is catering for your skinny arses?


7. The Essential Cardi is going. Slowly. Very slowly. Here's my Brooklyn Tweed inspired shot (not really - I've always loved the macro. But anyone would think he was the first genius to think of it).

Essential cardi in progress

8. If someone could make me a hot, milky tea right now, I would greatly appreciate it. xxx

9. I promise to not be so cranky tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can you imagine us years from today?

I tend to be a bit of a loner - I tell myself I'm much more comfortable in my own company, but in reality I think I get too nervous meeting new people and make myself uptight and wonder whether person X who I just met thinks I'm a complete wanker. I'm more than likely a hard person to love, but I have some people I keep close to me.

So this is a blog post about friendship.

About 18 months ago, some dear friends convinced (some would say nagged) me to join them on a little holiday to Fiji to participate in a singing workshop. Obscure sounding holiday, I know, but it's what we do for shits and giggles. I said yes, then no as I'd just bought a second house and OH. MY. GOD. that was too stressful and I couldn't cope. Then I said bugger it. Yes, I'll come. Pick me up on your way to the airport.

In May last year we took off on our little adventure which became a big adventure and a life-changing experience, and the best nine days of my life. One of the reasons for it being so life-changing was the friends I made. For some strange reason they didn't seem to think I was a complete wanker. We called ourselves "Daku family" and I've missed all 27 of them every day since I left Fiji.

On the weekend some of my Daku family came to Canberra for the folk festival, and over the weekend there were many little Daku Family Reunions, usually in the form of hugs and kisses each time we came across each other. And there was singing. Lots of singing.

Here's some of my family at the NFF. There were three others but we couldn't find them in time for the photo.

Part of the Fiji reunion at the National Folk Festival

The last time we were all together it was a little warmer and a little more primitive and there was a lot more gin.

Villa sunset party

And it made me think - I would never have met most of these wonderful people if not for my love of singing (and gin), but yet they are people I relate to outside of the whole musical thing. I met them because of music, but we stay in touch because we like each other.

I hadn't thought about it too much before this weekend, but it's the same for my quilting/knitting/crochet/new to Canberra/blogging friends. We met because of xyz hobby or interest or need, but in reality, it was just a convenient excuse to meet. We continue to hang around with each other and care for each other because we have more in common than just that.

And I think that's kind of cool.

Mr QM, on the other hand, hangs around with me because I married him eight years ago today and he can't get rid of me that easily. We almost missed our anniversary but for Patricia, super-marriage-witness-extraordinaire, telling us on Friday when she turned up to stay, that the 25th was Tuesday. We told her no, the 25th was Thursday. She insisted. We insisted the calendar must be wrong. We can be so stubborn. And stupid.

Happy anniversary, Scooter. You're the best friend I could ever hope to have.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

This is ... still a mess

Thanks for your comments about my sewing room demon last night. To answer Jodie, who didn't think it looked too bad, well yes, it is that bad, and much worse. Here are some photos I took this morning.

Expedit bookshelf
This is my IKEA Expedit bookshelf, and while in itself it sodesn't look too bad, it has a lot of wasted space that I need to sort out. Also the baskets hold and hide a multitude of crafting sins.

Messy corner

This messy corner is one of "those" corners. It was invented by the need to put my sewing machine case somewhere - Mr QM deemed the spare room cupboard was needed as a tool shed, even though he has a bloody great tool shed outside. (Slowly I am making him put his plaster and his hammers and his impact drills outside, and eventually I'm hoping to reclaim the space.) Anyway, since I put the sewing machine case there, cutting boards, quilting rulers, BAGS OF YARN and other ephemera have moved in, and now it's a bad neighbourhood. With car burnouts. And letter box bombers.

Blythe wall

The Wall of Blythe is just a disaster, and the shelf underneath 200% worse. These shelves carry the legacy of my old sewing room in the old house (i.e. the dining room wall and a linen closet) and I really should do something about those plastic containers. They don't close properly, for one. They are butt ugly, for another.

It's been a lovely weekend here at Chez Quiltingmick. I went off to sing at the National Folk Festival on Friday morning, met up with some mates from my Fiji trip and then I took house guest Patricia to the Fiji reunion that night where we ate noodles and sang and discussed economic policy. Fun! No, really! Yesterday the three of us went to the Turner to Monet exhibition at the NGA, followed by lunch in Manuka, and a night in front of the footy with a bowl of homemade risotto each. My idea of a dream Saturday night, and our team won, so hooray!

Patricia left this morning after breakfast. I'm about to do some studio cleaning, have a shower, and then I'm back to the Folk Festival for the next 2 days. A performer's season ticket has it's advantages, you know... and I'm singing again tomorrow afternoon.

And here is where I leave you with a photo from a couple of Folk Festivals ago. I learned many things from watching these guys - how to perform with pure joy was one of them.

Never take yourself too seriously.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

This is ... my demon


This photo was taken on Thursday night at 10.05 pm. It's my sewing room, or something that once resembled a sewing room. While my creativity has been down the toilet, my sewing room has gone to hell. Really. And you're only seeing a third of the mess.

Storage is not the problem - I have heaps of it, but I have too much stuff to store. I really need to knuckle down and start making quilts and jumpers to whittle the fabric and yarn stash down. But then there's that problem with the current lack of creativity again, and I break into a hot flush. Hence the fan.

After I took this photo, I did the ironing, put away the board and sorted out some of the cupboards, but there is still no way I can get near that machine.

One day. Soon. Please.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No lonely hands grab my suitcase full of nothing

Apart from the "this is ..." meme I've been largely uninspired for the last couple of weeks. Feeling so sick and so utterly exhausted seemed to impact on my creativity more than I could have imagined. At a time when I should have been sitting on the sofa with my applique or some crochet, I instead tried defeating my exhaustion with physical activities. Stupid, I know. But I just had to do something. I'm not sure if you'd noticed, but I'm not one to sit on my arse all day and ask for cups of tea.

Shortly before I got sick, I was only one day from completing the Preppy Tank. I washed it, blocked it and waited for it to dry. Then we got a fortnight of excruciatingly hot days, and the need for a vest just wasn't there.

Blocking the Preppy Tank

But just you wait, little red tank. You'll be sewn up and worn next week. I hear cooler weather is on it's way. Besides, Patricia needs your bed for the long weekend. Move over.

Our front garden has been seeing quite a bit of excitement - we are in the process of pulling out old drought-affected trees and shrubs (the physical activity I just mentioned), and designing a more suitable front garden. Today a stump grinder fella turned up with his trusty steed.

Stump grinding

I don't think our street has seen so much action since Summernats.

Hopefully Michelle will get her crafty mojo back soon, and we'll be seeing output. Lots of quilty, yarny output.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This is ... my creation

This meme is also 2 days late.

I made this quilt for Susan a couple of years ago when she had one of those "significant" birthdays. I love this pattern - it's so easy to make and the simplicity of it's design really makes a feature of the fabric.

Yukata and batik fabrics make me go all wobbly. And anything orange. This one was a hard quilt to let go of, but it went to a wonderful person who would give me the shirt off her back if I needed it, so it was worth it and she deserved it.

Susan's quilt, originally uploaded by quiltingmick / michelle.

Monday, March 10, 2008

This is ... out my front door

A day late, but I haven't been up for posting.

This is our lovely giant Golden Ash which we see the moment we step out the front door. It's on the cusp of losing all of it's leaves, but in the meantime it's providing lots of shade on a 32 degree day.

A garden designer came to our house yesterday and commented on how much larger this tree was than the others in the street. It must have been a particularly well-manured bit of CSIRO sheep paddock, where our house is.

Thanks everyone for your best wishes. I really appreciate them.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Honey, put down that flyswatter

Chez Quiltingmick is in official lockdown, so my apologies now for lack of comments and posting and general communication. Last night I emerged from Calvary Hospital after 24 hours of morphine- induced delirium. There is still no explanation for the pain, but they let me leave that godawful place and that's all that matters at this point.

The warning labels on the pill packets say I shouldn't be driving or using heavy machinery. I suspect that also means the computer. This post in itself has taken 2 hours to write.

See you all when I've emerged from the fog.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Oprah, originally uploaded by quiltingmick / michelle.

Oprah was my parent's cat and she lived in Cairns with them. She passed away this morning 5/3/08 - she was 15 1/2 years old.

I loved Oprah. She was the only cat I wasn't allergic to, and the only cat I really liked. She was a beautiful little cat - she loved to sit in the sun under the skylight in the loungeroom, and would follow it around all morning. She was the chattiest cat I've ever met. A couple of years ago she was attacked by the dogs next door and Dad saved her life - and in doing so he ended up in hospital for a week with a severe case of cat scratch fever.

Rest in peace, little kitty cat. We'll all miss you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Using the stash - dedicated project #5

If there's one thing I've noticed since I started the bed o' stash, it's that I love red, green and black. (and now purple, but we won't go there). I have two lots of gorgeous green to crochet, and they are both the loveliest of colours and I don't want to ruin them with a badlt selected project.

Ya know?

Stash: 18 balls of Patons Totem 8 ply in a mashed avocado green, bought at one of the numerous $2 sale expeditions to Cassidy's.


Issue: Do you know how hard it is to find crochet patterns for light worsted weight yarn? Near on impossible. Everything is for worsted and aran these days, and we all know how good the Aussie yarn companies are at producing 10 ply, don't we?

Solution: Bell-sleeve Cardigan from Plus Size Crochet by Margaret Hubert. I'll probably add more buttons.


Travel the world and the seven seas (things)

I'm a great procastinator. Last week, kms tagged me to do the "seven random/weird things about yourself" meme, but it's taken me this long just to come up with one thing, let alone seven. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, friends.

The Rules:
1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Here goes (thinking, thinking):

1. For the last few years, I have collected vintage Pyrex, particularly Agee Australia Pyrex. I have more Pyrex casserole dishes, mixing bowls, ramekins and pie plates than should be allowed. At least count I had 51 pieces, but I suspect it's more than that and I just can't count.

Pyrex ramekins

2. I was a Presbyterian and Uniting Church churchgoer for most of my life when I found out, at age 20, that I was in fact baptised a Catholic. This was in fact a Big Deal, or it would have been had I still been Presbyterian, as that particular church HATED (with a capital H) Catholics and the Pope even more (a fact I found odd as a youngster, especially as we were taught that as Christians we loved everyone. Just not Catholics, apparently.)

3. Mr QM is the youngest of 9 children. And he's not a Catholic either. Family gatherings are very, um, entertaining. Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice when I say "entertaining"?

4. I also collect Blythe dolls, but I use the term "collect" loosely. They are a way of life and have been since 2003. They all have names and personalities. Yes, I talk to them. Yes, I dress them. Yes, I am 38 years old. I am part of a very loving, close-knit online Blythe community and I have made amazing friends. I have only ever met three of them in real life, and they are the most incredible interesting people I am ever likely to meet outside of a Canberra SnB.

Are they free range?

And no, I do not think they look like Chucky.

5. I have always sung. I've been a member of choirs since I was a wee thing. I remember being SO excited to belong to the year 3 choir at school, as they wouldn't teach you harmonies until year 3. School choirs, school duets and trios, church choirs, a work choir called "Calculating Women" (we were statisticians), "The Cyrenes" and now "Canberra Union Voices". Singing has taken me to the Blue Mountains for Wintersong, Cobargo for the folk festival, Fiji for a 9 day workshop ... I've sung in a duet in front of lady Flo Bjelke-Peterson at a school speech night, sung in a backing choir for a Fred Smith show at Tilley's and been recorded on an Ocean Moses CD. Too much fun. It must be illegal, surely.

6. I'm allergic to chicken, beef, soy, wheat, oats, malt, yeast, bananas, carrots, green beans. I'm highly allergic to cats. And to grasses. The allergist had told me "The good news is you are only allergic to seven grasses. The bad news is that all seven grow in Canberra". He thought it was really very funny. Strangely, I didn't.

7. I have never, EVER taken illicit drugs, and I've never wanted to. I very rarely drink alcohol. I feel the need to be in control at all times.

I tag Purple Purl, The Cat Rules, Thornberry, Puggle Logic, Georgie Love, m1k1 and Taph, if they haven't already participated.